Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD can be a life-altering mental health problem. It is caused by experiencing or witnessing terrifying events, violence, or from going through extended periods of extreme stress. For most people who go through a traumatic event there is a coping or grieving period that occurs afterward, but the majority usually recover with time.
However, other people will have symptoms that get much worse and can last for extended periods of time. The onset of symptoms can occur right after the stressful time, or can appear many years later, such as in child abuse cases for example. PTSD can be severe enough to complete disrupt someone’s life and make it difficult to function normally. Research shows that every year, an estimated 3.6% of adults are diagnosed with PTSD suggesting that this is a growing problem.
Causes and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Symptoms of PTSD can significantly affect the ability to function in day to day life, and can include:
- Pessimistic outlook
- Anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Nightmares about the trauma
- Flashbacks to the events surrounding the trauma
- Feelings of anger or uncontrolled rage
- Relationship difficulties
- Self-imposed isolation from people and activities
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory problems
- Poor work or school performance
- Feeling numb
- Self-destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse
- Being hyper-alert to sounds or lights
- Startled easily
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide or attempts at suicide
There are other factors that can put you at higher risk for PTSD other than just the trauma itself, such as:
- Being exposed to multiple traumas throughout your life
- Being a first responder or exposure to combat
- A history of depression and/or anxiety
- Lack of a support system through family and friends
- Not having a stable childhood
Common things that can trigger PTSD include sexual or physical assault, being involved in an accident, having a near-death experience, combat exposure, serious illness, or anything else that causes you to perceive being a threat to your life. Sometimes people can also experience PTSD regarding things that they’ve been witness to.
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MeRT Protocol Featured on “Broken Brain” Podcast by Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Mark Hyman is an esteemed functional medicine physician and best-selling author. He founded the Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine clinic and oversees the famous podcast called “The Broken Brain.” MeRT was featured on one of the episodes for treatment of PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Concussions. Major Depression Disorder and suicidal tendencies are also discussed.
Dr. Erik Won from the Brain Treatment Center in California was interviewed and spoke extensively about the MeRT technology and its utilization to treat veterans who have suffered these conditions after coming back from war, along with the many successes in treatment that have been realized.
The MeRT Process
MeRT is a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment.
MeRT (Magnetic E (EKG and EEG) Resonance Therapy is a treatment protocol that evolved from a technology called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). However, TMS is a more generalized approach because it is only able to target a single location in the brain with one frequency.
Studies have shown that brain wave oscillations are altered in patients suffering from conditions such as Major Depression Disorder (MDD), Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, and more. MeRT treatment protocol uses a magnetic field to balance and stimulate brain function. The technology involves using very sophisticated diagnostics and imaging so that the treatment is customized for each individual and a personalized protocol is then tailored based on the location, frequency, and amount of power used by the magnet, specific to each person’s unique condition. MeRT is used to improve brain communication, synchronization, and can lead to significant and long-lasting improvements.
Much of the initial MeRT research has been done by the U.S. Department of Defense for veterans returning from combat. There is an article that was published in Defense One that further explains the DOD’s research and the benefits that MeRT has been shown to have on people suffering from TBI, PTSD, and MDD. Additional studies have been completed in the private sector on other conditions.
What to Expect
If you are interested in seeing if MeRT treatment is right for you, we will initially schedule two appointments, both of which are about 45 minutes in length.
At the first appointment, our neuro-technician will perform a qEEG and an EKG. These procedures are painless and involves the patient sitting in a chair until the test is completed. The results will then be compiled, and sent to our clinical team of experts. At your second appointment, our clinician will have a one on one consultation with you to confirm that you or your child is a candidate for treatment, answer any additional questions that you may have, and schedule the assessment period for treatment.
During the assessment period, treatment is administered every day, Monday through Thursday, followed by a repeat qEEG on Friday to see how you or your child are responding. If there is a positive response to treatment during the assessment period, you will have likely noticed some improvements starting to take place, and we will then schedule for the additional treatment duration.
A typical treatment session takes about 45 minutes. The patient will sit in a chair while the neurotechnician administers the treatment via a hand-held magnet that is held near the scalp. The magnetic impulses are delivered for 6-8 seconds each minute. There may be a slight sensation felt while the treatment is occurring, but it is not painful or uncomfortable.
Typically, after going through the assessment treatment period, MeRT treatment lasts anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks, however in some cases, additional treatment time is recommended for optimal results. Each individual is different, and protocols may vary. Your provider will have regularly scheduled follow-up EEGs and meet with you to gauge your progress.
Our clinic does not accept insurance. We can provide you with the appropriate paperwork at the end of your treatment so that you can submit it to your insurance company to see if they would provide you with any reimbursement.
Currently, MeRT is FDA approved for Depression and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) Treatment for all other conditions is considered “off label” at this time, though we are hopeful that treatment for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) will be FDA approved at some point in 2020. For non-FDA approved treatment, it is highly unlikely that any insurance will provide reimbursement for our protocols.
Some patients have reported that they have been able to receive some reimbursement for EEGs or clinical evaluations, depending on their health coverage. Medicare patients have reported that their coverage provides no reimbursement for MeRT.
Additional Payment Options
We take all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Care Credit is also an option to assist in financing medical expenses. Care Credit is a separate company than The Brain Treatment Center, and is a credit card that can be used to cover medical expenses and services. They typically offer zero-interest financing for 12 months.
Usually, when you go to the Care Credit website and apply, they will let you know if you are approved very promptly.
Starting as a New Patient
To get started, we will schedule an initial qEEG and then follow that with a consultation with one of our clinicians who can explain what the results show, and then we will proceed into the assessment period for treatment. During the assessment period, treatment is administered every day, Monday through Thursday, followed by a repeat qEEG on Friday to see how you or your child are responding. If there is a positive response to treatment during the assessment period, you will have likely noticed some improvements starting to take place, and we will then schedule for the additional treatment duration.
Typically, MeRT treatment lasts anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks, however in some cases, additional treatment is recommended for optimal results. Each individual is different, and protocols may vary. Your provider will have regularly scheduled follow-up EEGs and meet with you to gauge your progress.
Contact Our New Patient Coordinator for Additional Information
It’s normal for patients and their families who are affected by brain disorders to feel frustrated and isolated, and many have lost hope that there is any relief in sight. MeRT is a treatment protocol that has helped patients restore their brain function, reclaim their lives, and feel passionate about living again. We understand what you are going through, and our goal is to help guide you through the process so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not MeRT is the right treatment for you or your child.
Many of our clinicians and technicians have gone through MeRT treatment protocols themselves and have realized first hand what the treatment has done for them, and as a result, are passionate about helping others to heal too.
Our New Patient Coordinator is available to answer any questions that you may have about how MeRT can help you specifically. She’ll take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and put your mind at ease. She can also assist in getting you scheduled with the clinic should you decide to move forward with treatment.